4.265 Chilli Crab


27 (Fri) September 2013

Chilli Crab


at Redhill Rong Guang BBQ Seafood

(Makansutra Gluttons Bay)

-Marina Bay, Singapore-


The Singapore Diet: Day 1 of 3

In Singapore.  While here on a gluttony excursion, for approximately 48 hours, from Friday evening to Sunday evening, the plan is to consume as much as I can, both in terms of variety and volume, via the Singapore Diet.  The Singapore Diet, developed expressly for this purpose, involves eating a meal whenever I’m not feeling stuffed from the prior meal.  Due to time constraints, I wasn’t able to research specific venues and items, so I’ll be winging it for the most part.

Venue 1

Redhill Rong Guang BBQ Seafood

I did manage to fire-off a last-minute inquiry to a former classmate from Yonsei Grad School, a native Singaporean, BT, who gave me a few restaurant/dish recommendations and even went to the trouble of making reservations for me at a few places, even though he’s in New York at the moment, what a pal!

hawker centre is a type of food court found in certain parts of Asia.  In Singapore, the centres are an integral part of the country’s culinary tradition.  Typically open-air, often roofed in some form, but sometimes fully indoors.  Comprising a collection of stalls, ranging in number from 10 at smaller neighborhood centres to over 100 at major centres in prime locations.  Each stall, barely big enough to fit the owner/chef and an assistant, is equipped to offer only a handful of items within a general category (e.g., noodles, skewers, seafood).  While many dishes reflect the eclectic cultural influences from neighboring countries around Singapore, notably China (e.g., dim sum), Malaysia (e.g., satay), and India (e.g., curry), the dynamic blending of those influences have also given rise to dishes uniquely Singaporean (e.g., chilli crab).

The Singapore Diet was designed with the hawker centres in mind.

Upon seeing this, I actually chortled like a cartoon villain and rubbed my hands together in pure joy.

Makansutra Gluttons Bay is a hawker centre.  Gentrified and cleaned up for the tourists, with uniform signage and bright photos and cutesy blurbs, careful vendor selection to ensure coverage of all the classics and no overlap, higher prices.

I’m a tourist, a food tourist, so it was just the place to be.

Tiger on tap!  Beverages are sold separately in hawker centres, a major pain in the ass, though the arrangement makes sense given the size of the stalls, no room to store drinks.

Redhill Rong Guang BBQ Seafood is a hawker stall at Makansutra Gluttons Bay.  Specializes in seafoods prepared with chilli sauces.

Chilli Crab is a Singaporean dish.  It consists of whole mud crab stir-fried in a sweet/spicy tomato/chili sauce, often with egg mixed in.  Found at humble hawker centres and high end restaurants.  Regarded as one of Singapore’s national dishes.

Chilli Crab (1.5) (Item 1)

On my first chilli crab experience, I wasn’t that impressed.  For starters, I found it too difficult to pick at the little meat there was, which is why I’m not a fan of crab in general, so I eventually gave up trying and began to chew through the shells, much harder and more brittle than, say, the dungeness or king crab shells that I’m accustomed to.  With the sauce, what a mess.  Being a female crab, it had eggs, but they were dry and crumbly.  Most importantly, the sweetish/spicyish flavor of the sauce, somewhere between ketchup and sambal olek, wasn’t really my thing.  Oh well.

Baby Kailan in Oyster Sauce (2.5) (Item 2): nice flavor, but leafier than regular kailan and not enough bite.
Seafood Fried Rice (3.0) (Item 3): I got this out of habit but regretted filling up on something so pedestrian, even if it was pretty good.

TOTAL COST: SGD 42 (+10 for beer)

Venue 2

Mongkok Dimsum

Past midnight, after the booze cutoff, I was surprised to see so many customers, just eating.
Available 24 hours a day!

My hotel is in Geylang, a Chinese ghetto of sorts.  Late-night/24-hr eateries abound within blocks of the hotel.  That will significantly facilitate implementation of The Singapore Diet.

Sambal Kangkong (2.5) (Item 4): okay but a bit too spicy for me.
Sugar Cane Shrimp Balls (2.5) (Item 5): don’t know why I got these, because I hate chewing on sugar cane.

I also got a couple dishes to go for later at the hotel.



Fragrance Hotel – Emerald

Pitching the idea for the trip to W – for the record, I don’t require authorization per se, but I do prefer approbation – I swore to keep spending down to a bare minimum.  That’s how I ended up at Fragrance Hotel – Emerald.  I even checked out of my hotel in Manila over the weekend to cut costs.  I’ve never really cared about the quality of hotel accommodations, especially when I’m traveling for fun, when I’d rather be spending my money on food.

Pea Sproutlings with Garlic (2.5) (Item 6): one of my favorites from back in college, but a bit overcooked/mushy here.
Crispy Noodles with Meat and Seafood (3.0) (Item 7): never fails.
Staying in a hotel that didn’t provide proper glassware, I was forced to enjoy this Clynelish 14 Single Malt Scotch Whisky in a coffee cup.



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